Gilly Flaherty: We’re adapting to a different mindset


West Ham United defender Gilly Flaherty is enjoying adapting to life under new women’s manager Olli Harder.

The Hammers’ long-serving captain led the team out at the Chigwell Construction Stadium on Sunday for the first time under Harder’s stewardship.

And while the match against Tottenham ultimately ended in a narrow defeat, West Ham looked a side reinvigorated, playing in a new, high-intensity system which initially saw three defenders at the back, supported by wing-backs either side.

While the Irons were unable to find an to answer Lucy Quinn’s first-half strike in the end, they battled well and had much the better of the play, particularly during a one-sided second half.

Flaherty feels that the second half in particular is reflective of the kind of football Harder wants to see from his new side as they seek to push up from tenth spot in the Barclays FA Women’s Super League table.

“It’s been really good,” Flaherty told West Ham TV, reflecting on the manager’s first few weeks in charge.

“It’s been like a breath of fresh air really. Obviously we’ve got a new system and new things being brought in, and it’s just a different mindset really. 

“Even if you look at the career that I’ve had and the clubs I’ve played in, it’s nice to be coached. I can still learn – and all the players in there can still learn – and be coached. 

“We’re where we are in the table and we want to build on it and get up and for me I think he’s the right man. I’m really positive and I think the girls are really happy after the first few weeks.

“Of course we lost, and any footballer is going to feel gutted not winning or getting the three points, but I think we can be proud of our performance and take so many positives from it. 

“Overall I think, and even if you’d have asked Tottenham, they’d have said that we were the better team the whole game. I don’t think they got out of their area in the second half. 

“There are a lot of positives for us to take from it and now we have to prepare for a big week against Durham.”

Gilly Flaherty

The Hammers will have a quick opportunity to make amends in the form of Thursday night’s match at the same venue against Durham – a Continental League Cup quarter-final.

Whilst Flaherty is an experienced enough footballer to know not to take anything for granted – particularly with the visitors currently unbeaten in the second tier of women’s football in England – she also hopes that a berth in the semi-finals of the competition can be attained.

“It’s a huge chance for us to get into the semi-final of the Cup,” she explained.

“Durham have got a bit of a long trek to come here, but we have to respect them and they’re doing very, very well in the Championship.

“It’s a game we want to win and we want to get into the semi-finals of the Cup.”

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